Phil Bowermaster looks at the cost of storing all of the books in the Library of Congress catalog.
The initial scanning work is the only part of the plan that's likely to present much of an expense factor. According to Moore's Law, that $60,000 price tag for storage should be somewhere around $2,000 eight years from now. If the estimate for the robot scanner is accurate, and it follows a less robust drop in price — say halving once every four years — we would be looking at a price tag of around $65 million in the same period of time. Pretty doable, I'd say.
Unfortunately, the legal concept of public domain is rapidly diminishing, while copyright terms are lengthened and controls are made more expansive.
...By 2018, the storage for a copy of the entire Library of Congress online should cost less than $1000; even the cost of creating the archive would be $15 million or less. We could put the entire Library of Congress in every school in America.
For Discussion. Should this scenario be considered "fair use" under copyright law?